Of desperado Democrats and bank robbers 0

The Democrats in power are self-doomed to failure. What cannot work, won’t work. But a lot of damage can be done while they keep trying.

From an article by Byron York in the Washington Examiner (all of it is worth reading here):

To some observers, the Democrats’ race to pass national health care seems irrational — even suicidal. Don’t party leaders understand how much the public opposes the bills currently on the table? Don’t they know that voters are likely to take their revenge at the polls next year? Given that, why do they keep rushing ahead?

Just look at the RealClearPolitics average of polls, which shows that Americans oppose the national health care bills currently on the table by a margin of 53 percent to 38 percent. That’s not just one poll that might tilt right or left, it’s an average of several polls by several pollsters. And the margin of opposition seems to be growing, not diminishing. And yet Democrats seem determined to defy public opinion. Why?

I put the question to a Democratic strategist who asked to remain anonymous. … [In his reply] he compared congressional Democrats with robbers who have passed the point of no return in deciding to hold up a bank. Whatever they do, they’re guilty of something. “They’re in the bank, they’ve got their guns out. They can run outside with no money, or they can stick it out, go through the gunfight, and get away with the money.”

That’s it. Democrats are all in. They’re going through with it. Even if it kills them.

Posted under Commentary, Health, Progressivism, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 15, 2009

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When prevention is not better than cure 0

Charles Krauthammer writes:

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.

That’s a hypothetical case. What’s the real-life actuality in the United States today? A study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, “if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success,” the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country’s total medical bill by 162 percent. Elmendorf additionally cites a definitive assessment in the New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed hundreds of studies on preventive care and found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be preventing illness. Of course we should. But in medicine, as in life, there is no free lunch. The idea that prevention is somehow intrinsically economically different from treatment — that treatment increases costs and prevention lowers them — is simply nonsense.

Prevention is a wondrous good, but in the aggregate it costs society money. Nothing wrong with that. That’s the whole premise of medicine: Treating a heart attack or setting a broken leg also costs society. But we do it because it alleviates human suffering. Preventing a heart attack with statins or breast cancer with mammograms is costly. But we do it because it reduces human suffering.

However, prevention is not, as so widely advertised, healing on the cheap. It is not the magic bullet for health care costs.

You will hear some variation of that claim a hundred times in the coming health care debate. Whenever you do, remember: It’s nonsense — empirically demonstrable and CBO-certified.

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Economics, Health, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 14, 2009

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Mighty handy for totalitarianism 1

Consider this:

216 of the [‘Stimulus’ Act’s] 1,071 pages deal with a project not directly aimed at short-term economic stimulus, and these 216 pages were themselves divided into two distinct parts (139 pages in "Division A" of the law and 77 pages in "Division B").

Together, these 216 pages provide the legal framework for collecting every American’s personal medical records into a federally coordinated electronic system…

Division A includes a section called "Title XIII – Health Information Technology," which provides for "the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure."

In the law’s jargon, this infrastructure is supposed to allow for the "enterprise integration" of the "qualified electronic health record" of "each person in the United States by 2014."

What do "qualified electronic health record" and "enterprise integration" mean? A "qualified electronic health record," the law says, "means an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that – (A) includes patient demographic and clinical health information, such as medical history and problems lists; and (B) has the capacity – (i) to provide clinical decision support; (ii) to support physician order entry; (iii) to capture and query information relevant to health care quality; and (iv) to exchange electronic health information with, and integrate such information from other sources."

This mandate that your "electronic health record" (EHR) be able to communicate with "other sources" goes to the definition of "enterprise integration." This term, the law says, "means the electronic linkage of health care providers, health plans, the government and other interested parties to enable electronic exchange and use of health information among all the components in the health care infrastructure in accordance with applicable law." …

In plain English: Over the next five years, the Obama administration intends to create a federally run electronic exchange that includes every American’s "medical history and problems lists."

‘Other sources’ can include data held by any government department – the IRS for instance. A total dossier of information about you will be available to any bureaucrat at any moment with a click or two This is a tool for totalitarianism that Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot would have envied.  

Read the Terence Jeffrey column we are quoting here. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, February 18, 2009

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